Ultimate First Timer's Guide To Italy

Hello friends! I am back today to round up mine and Joey’s recent trip to Italy! I am grateful to have traveled to Italy three times with my family, so planning this trip for Joey’s first Italian experience was so fun for me! I knew I wanted the basis of our trip to be around Florence, because I feel like Florence is just quintessential Italy. I booked flights and an Airbnb in Florence for 8 days, and then dived into plans! This trip was the perfect mix of exploring and enjoying the Italian culture, and I wouldn’t change a thing!

Day 1: Arrive in Florence

We arrived in Florence early on in the morning. We dropped our things off at the Airbnb and hit the streets! We decided to stay at an Airbnb right next to the Duomo so we would be central to everything! We spent the day shopping, exploring, and ate dinner at ZaZa (one of our favorites)! We walked all over town stopping at the Ponte Vecchio, Duomo, and toured the Basilica Santissima Annuziata!

Ponte Vecchio – Skirt

Day 2: Explore Florence!

Refreshed after traveling, we spent the whole day exploring Florence! In the morning we walked to the top of Piazzale Michelangelo, grabbed paninis at the famous All’Antico Vinaio, shopped, and grabbed evening coffee at Rivoire while listening to music in our favorite Piazza della Signoria.

Day 3: Venice

Our first full travel day! We hopped on the 8am train straight to Venice! We booked these tickets last minute, and the train ride was only two hours! Instead of taking a water taxi from the train station, we decided to take the 50 minute walk to St.Mark’s Square, and it was worth it! On our way to the square we stopped by the Rialto Bridge and had the most romantic gondola ride! We spent the day wandering around the streets of Venice with no agenda, and it was beautiful. We ate, shopped, and just spent time enjoying the culture! We hopped on the 6:30 train back to Florence. Since I knew we were only going to be in Venice for a day, I did not want to pack our agenda with too many stops, so it was nice to have the time to wander and enjoy the city!

Day 4: Cinque Terre

Back on the road for another day of travel! This morning we woke up even earlier and caught the 6:30am train out of Florence to La Spezia! La Spezia is the train station right outside Cinque Terre. The train took about 2.5 hours, and once arriving in Le Spezia, we hopped on the Cinque Terre train which dropped us at the first town Monterosso al Mare! We spent the day traveling between all five towns. There is a train that runs between all 5 towns, and it is super easy to navigate! We spent the night at the sweetest Airbnb in Corniglia (town number 3). While the quieter of the five towns, we found this was the most perfect place to stay for it’s authenticity and beauty! We ate dinner at Cecio Ristorante Camere (it was right below our room!) and enjoyed their pasta and homemade wine!

Skirt // Sweater

Day 5: Cinque Terre & Pisa

We spent the morning enjoying the town of Corniglia and traveled back to Florence in the afternoon. While in Corniglia we grabbed breakfast, explored the town’s culture and church, and even got pesto lasagna!! On the train ride back to Florence we made a pit stop in Pisa! We only stayed in Pisa for an hour an a half, but it was the perfect amount of time to hop off the train, walk 20 minutes to the tower, and then catch the next train home!

After returning back to Florence, we discovered the most AMAZING wine bar Enoteca Alessi! Joey was like a little kid in a candy shop with all of the incredible wines and amazing charcuterie boards! We had a relaxing and delicious dinner at Ristorante La Grotta Guelfa, the best homemade pasta we ate!

Day 6: Tuscany Wine Tour & San Gimignano

This is the day Joey and I had been looking forward to the entire trip and it did not disappoint! We booked this tour which took us to two incredible wineries and the charming town of San Gimignano! The wineries were SO fun and beautiful, and San Gimignano has become one of my most favorite Italian towns. It is a medeival town and had SO many gorgeous pottery shops! The town itself is situated up on a mountain, so we were just in awe wandering around the town because around every corner was an incredible view!

After returning to Florence we ate at a steakhouse we had been eyeing – Trattoria dall’Oste Chianineria (can you say truffle steak?!) and grabbed drinks at the Rinascente Rooftop! This rooftop is a hidden gem, but go into the Rinascente department store and head up to the top floor! The rooftop has an incredible view of the Duomo and Piazza Della Repubblica!

Day 7: Florence

Our final day in Florence! We spent the morning bargaining in the leather market and eating our way through the San Lorenzo Market. This market is INCREDIBLE! There are two stories and tables and tables of cheese, meats, produce, and absolutely everything imaginable! We grabbed pizza at the famous Gusta Pizza and planned to spend the rest of the day walking around town, but the weather did not cooperate, so we headed back to Enoteca Alessi for more wine and charcuterie boards! For our last dinner we ate at La Buchetta Food & Wine Restaurant, and it was without a doubt the BEST meal we had while we were there. The food and pasta were absolutely incredible!!

We spent the evening enjoying limoncello spritz on the Rinascente Rooftop, and flew back home the following morning! Already missing Italy and planning the next European adventure!

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